This paper presents the capabilities implemented in the SAX system for an efficient operations management during its in-flight mission. SAX is an Italian scientific satellite for x-ray astronomy whose major mission objectives impose quite tight constraints on the implementation of both the space and ground segment. The most relevant mission characteristics require an operative lifetime of two years, performing scientific observations both in contact and in noncontact periods, with a low equatorial orbit supported by one ground station, so that only a few minutes of communications are available each orbit. This operational scenario determines the need to have a satellite capable of performing the scheduled mission automatically and reacting autonomously to contingency situations. The implementation approach of the on-board operations management, through which the necessary automation and autonomy are achieved, follows a hierarchical structure. This has been achieved adopting a distributed avionic architecture. Nine different on-board computers, in fact, constitute the on-board data management system. Each of them performs the local control and monitors its own functions while the system level control is performed at a higher level by the data handling applications software. The SAX on-board architecture provides the ground operators with different options of intervention by three classes of telecommands. The management of the scientific operations will be scheduled by the operation control center via dedicated operating plans. The SAX satellite flight mode is presently being integrated at Alenia Spazio premises in Turin for a launch scheduled for the end of 1995. Once in orbit, the SAX satellite will be subject to intensive check-out activities in order to verify the required mission performances. An overview of the envisaged procedure and of the necessary on-ground activities is therefore depicted as well.